Summer Programme with Georgia State University
Transnational Urban Futures (TNUF) is the Faculty’s first trans-disciplinary research-led student exchange, and the Faculty’s first contribution to HKBU’s new summer programme. Between 19 June and 18 July 2015, ten undergraduate students from Geography, Education Studies, Sociology and Government and International Studies studied, researched, and explored alongside ten students from Georgia State University (GSU), USA.
The HKBU students flew to the city of Atlanta and formed into five cross-cultural research teams. Researching how NGOs with a faith component work alongside government and businesses to support migrants and newcomers, each team conducted interviews and secondary data analysis in Atlanta. A number of cultural activities were also organised. After exploring the world of Coke, shopping at outlet malls, enjoying Independence Day celebrations, kayaking, hiking and camping, the whole class flew back to Hong Kong. Here they continued their comparative research. The HKBU students now played host, and introduced the Americans to the best of Hong Kong, including speedboats, hikes, fish balls, home visits, and riding through central on a party tram. The course was jointly led by Dr. Katherine Hankins, Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, GSU and Prof. Adrian J. Bailey, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, HKBU who said “Having the chance to offer this innovative course is a dream come true. It’s a way to increase the intensity – and rewards – of an exchange programme, because both sets of students rely on each other to survive and thrive in two very distinct settings. Because students from very different backgrounds are on the same journey, and are jointly responsible to each other, the possibilities for genuine learning and reflection are significant.” Dr. Hankins reiterated these sentiments by commenting on the richness of the exchange experience: “It is so rare to have the opportunity to be both the host and the guest in a study abroad programme. With our Hong Kong and Atlanta students, this opportunity was fully realised. Not only were cultural differences and similarities explored in the setting of the university, but also in the settings of the home and in the two cities.”
Financial support from University Advancement Office, Research Committee and Geography Department, HKBU helped offset some costs of participation. The course will run again in June/July 2016 if student interest is sufficient.